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A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World

A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World
Author: Marcia Tucker
ISBN 13: 9780520265950
ISBN 10: 520265955
Edition: N/A
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2010-05-20
Format: Paperback
Pages: 226
List Price: $24.95

"Marcia was instrumental in introducing so many artists throughout her career, and I was one of them."—Bruce Nauman

"I know of no other curator who has left a major museum and said, 'I'll start a new museum.' Marcia was for me a mentor, then a beacon, and later a role model. I consider myself fortunate."—John Baldessari

"Marcia was a rebel with a cause: shaking up the staid world of art museums. She did it with vision, guts, and humor. We are forever indebted to her example."—Guerrilla Girls

"A Short Life Of Trouble—gossipy and delicious, smart and often deeply moving—takes us through Marcia Tucker's tough but fascinating days as a young, adventurous curator at the Whitney Museum to her ambivalent triumphs and constant challenges as the visionary founder of the New Museum, and beyond. The author emerges as a fierce, outspoken champion of contemporary artists, especially the risk-takers who are often marginalized and overlooked or not an easy sell. Her intelligence, passion, immense generosity of spirit, and wry, witty observations on the battles and machinations of the New York art world of the 1980s and 1990s are alive on every page. Although in her quest to live a just, meaningful existence she was often hardest on herself, Marcia Tucker clearly knew how to have fun and made every minute count. This poignant memoir lets us glimpse the all-too-brief but rich and remarkable life of an extraordinary human being."—Jessica Hagedorn, author of Dream Jungle

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review.

In this insightful and well-crafted memoir, long-time contemporary art curator Tucker (1945-2006) gives readers a backstage account of forty years on the New York and national art scene. A passionate art student, Tucker's career began when she put down the paint brush and dedicated herself to tracking down contemporary art; before long, she would become the first woman curator of The Whitney Museum, before founding and directing The New Museum. Her curatorial history is both humble and sophisticated ("it's one thing to want to create something, another to spend your life interpreting what someone else has made"), as well as vivid, charming and honest, revealing in direct language her reasons for exhibiting Bill Bollinger's giant boulder, pulled whole from the WTC excavation site, or storming out of a class-and her PhD program-after a professor referred to Nancy Graves's realistic, life-size camel sculptures as "novelty art." Aside from meeting some of the most famous artists of our time, from Marcel Duchamp to Bob Dylan, Tucker's personal story involves a tragic family life and years as a starving artist, related poignantly but without pandering. Deftly edited by close friend and artist Lou, this is an arresting tour of a life devoted to new art, with a perfectly charming guide.
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